Technological watch

FANUC’s biodegradable plastic cutlery demo makes its way to Interplas

FANUC UK will feature a live on-stand automated manufacturing cell at Interplas 2023 (stand D60, 26-28 September 2023, NEC, Birmingham). Visitors can watch in real time as a set of home compostable cutlery is manufactured every 10 seconds, before being laser etched and packaged into a biodegradable presentation sleeve. Comprising a FANUC all-electric ROBOSHOT injection moulding machine, a FANUC LR-10iA 6-axis robot arm, a laser etcher, and ancillary equipment provided by FANUC’s on-stand partner Hi-Tech, the fully automated system will also display live data showing the amount of energy used per unit produced, as well as the cost, to highlight the efficiency gains offered by the ROBOSHOT and the manufacturing cell as a whole. × FANUC Protecting planet and profit

FANUC aims to show Interplas visitors not only the ability of its ROBOSHOT machine to handle biodegradable plastic as a raw material for single-use items such as cutlery sets, but also the energy and cost savings to be made compared with hydraulic alternatives. 

“As the FANUC ROBOSHOT is all electric, it uses 50-70% less energy than hydraulic machines, and 10-15% less energy than other all-electric machines,” says Martin Grimshaw, ROBOSHOT Sales Manager for FANUC UK. “In fact, it has been proven to be one of the lowest energy consumptions worldwide and one of the lowest total costs of ownership on the market.” 

With 60% of manufacturers reporting that out of control energy bills are now threatening their business, being sustainable is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ but a business imperative. The company says that the   demonstration cell at Interplas will be linked to a clamp meter which will measure in real time the amount of power the unit is drawing from the grid and display it live for visitors to see, as well as the value of that power in pounds and pence. 

The ROBOSHOT also measures this data as standard and visitors will be invited to compare the two screens, to gauge the accuracy of the ROBOSHOT’s built-in energy meter. “We are looking forward to proving to Interplas visitors just how much energy can be saved with the ROBOSHOT, and the resulting financial benefits that it can offer,” explains Martin.

Full production lifecycle

The standard automation cell being showcased at Interplas features the FANUC ROBOSHOT S150iB at its heart. As well as low energy consumption, this CNC injection moulding machine offers repeatably high levels of consistency and accuracy, superior mould protection and rapid acceleration. Visitors to the FANUC stand can witness it processing a fully biodegradable plastic produced by Solinatra, who will also supply the mould tool. 

With system integration being a key talking point for the plastics industry, the ROBOSHOT will be tended at Interplas by a Standard Automation Cell from Hi-Tech, FANUC’s system integrator partner for the injection moulding sector. The system features the FANUC LR-10iA robot positioned on a linear rail to create a 7thaxis, giving it full range of movement across and above the entire length of the cell. Once produced, the company says that the robot will drop the cutlery into the correct place for laser etching, before moving the finished set to the packaging area for final presentation, making the entire process fully automated.

“With a set of home compostable cutlery being produced live on-stand every 10 seconds, we are excited to show visitors what the ROBOSHOT can do and, just as importantly, demonstrate how the energy efficiency benefits extend across the entire manufacturing cell; from raw material handling to final packaging,” adds Martin. “Make sure to stop by stand D40 to watch this biodegradable single-use cutlery being made.”

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Publication date: 11/07/2023

European Plastic Product Manufacturer


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.